Contributor close-up: Jennifer Marx, Playtime columnist

Jennifer Marx

My first interaction with My Edmonds News was in December 2009, not too long after it was founded. I saw a request on social media for family Santa pictures and after the wild ride of the first six months after my youngest’s arrival, I jumped at the chance to share our first two-kid Santa picture — I mean, both kids were looking AND smiling while wearing matching sweaters. It was so satisfying amongst the kid/baby/job that starts pre-dawn chaos to see them captured, sitting still wearing fireman rain boots and baby Vans respectively. Plus the baby was so perfectly round after having some trouble gaining weight after he was born.

Jennifer Marx’s first connection with My Edmonds News was submitting Santa photos of her sons in December 2009.

If you had told the younger, kid-free version of me that I would one day be a writer using my experience as a parent, I wouldn’t have believed you. While I have always loved writing, I had wanted to be a broadcaster for as long as I can remember. In fact, when I was a kid, my mom had to pull me aside after taping radio shows onto cassette tapes with my friends and tell me that I needed to let them talk too — which in hindsight is as much of a nod to my then-undiagnosed ADHD as it was to my interest in the field. I went back and forth from wanting to be a DJ, not the two turntables and a microphone kind, but the talking between songs on the radio kind, and News Anchor, but landed firmly on DJ as time went on.

Just out of high school, I started an internship at a then-newer radio station in the Los Angeles area, where I slowly began to see that the life of a radio DJ, with all the competition and likely moves to different markets, was probably not for me. Radio was still what I wanted to do and as I started getting paid work, I worked as a request show editor (where I physically had to edit actual tape with a razor), a promotions assistant, a morning show assistant where I did red carpet interviews, and a call screener, before I landed as a radio talk show producer for roughly the next 10 years – almost two of those in Seattle.

After being laid off when my oldest was 10 months old, I wanted to make a change. Managing the constant intake of news coupled with the parallels of parenting and producing (managing talent and managing kids have some strong similarities) was too much for me. I was lucky again to find a great fit and, for the next 8.5 years, I did morning drive traffic reporting, getting off work at 9 am. While the years where the kids weren’t in school were tricky, this job eventually let me enjoy my two favorite pastimes, talking and napping.

One of the main themes of parenting that has come up for me in different ways, with each phase, is the stuff that no one seems to tell you and how incredibly good it feels to relate with someone who gets it, either because they are going through it too or because they’re willing to listen to and support you through it. This was part of the reason I started taking part in the “Mommy Blog” era of the internet and how I eventually became part of My Edmonds News. In 2013, Teresa put out a call for writers, including someone to cover local family-oriented events, and I jumped at the chance — I just looked up the posting and our initial contact about it and I can remember the urgency I felt in sending my email because I really wanted the position

Jennifer Marx dressed as Weird Al for Halloween in 2019.

I have been helped by other parents, near and far, countless times and in as many way — from listening to explaining the things that seem out of this world, which can indeed be par for the course. They’ve offered support, resources or seemingly small tips with big impacts about sleep, car seats, doctors, sports equipment, tutors, teachers, school lunch (did you know that if you put a frozen Bavarian Pretzel in a lunch box it will thaw by lunchtime?), etc.This kind of help has been invaluable to me and I try to pay it forward whenever I can. It eventually came to be the way I look at my column, and it is probably why I write about the library so much. It feels so good to be able to share what I’ve learned, oftentimes from other parents.

I still get excited when I see a local, free event I would have loved to have gone to when the kids were younger or a class/event the library is offering that I can add to the column. It has bled over into my real life, I love to share about Mrs. Parker at Meadowdale Preschool, or the homework resources the library has that help with your district-wide first-grade culture project, or the Ranger Naturalist Camps (you can also hire them for a low tide birthday!),

I have learned so much during my time at the My Neighborhood News Network (the columns also appear in MLTnews and Lynnwood Today) — from Teresa and the team, the people I write about, and the people I write the column for. Through the column, I have also made inspiring friends in the community, who offer so much to so many. One of my initial fears when the quarantine started was that without in-person events to go to, “Edmonds Kind of Play” just wouldn’t work anymore and I wouldn’t get to continue. I am more grateful than ever to Teresa, for guiding me through the changes and to all of those offering or sharing local events and resources.

— By Jennifer Marx

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